Pablo Vares de Azevedo
“There was a man that passed by me a lot with his little girl, probably on their way to and from her school. She was around 6 years old and (for a couple of years) would love to hear me play and danced to my music every time they passed by. At the time, I got hired for a theatre play and was away from town and the streets most of the time for nearly a year.
Then I came back and started busking regularly again and one day they encountered me once more. The father obviously remembered me and stopped walking so she could hear my playing and dance to my music again, but she didn’t. He looked at me sadly as they went on their way. Guess I’ll never know if she was just sad that day, or if she felt she was too grown up now to dance in the middle of the sidewalk.”Pablo Vares de Azevedo
Pablo Vares de Azevedo is a 30 year old flamenco guitarist born and raised in Uruguay who has been living and working in Brazil for the past 8 years.
Pablo’s wonderful finger picking talent on the alluring flameco guitar drew us to invite him to the blog to tell us a little about his experiences as a musician and busker.
Tell us about growing up in Uruguay?
Uruguay is a quiet country and I grew up in a quiet neighbourhood. I was able to go to school by riding my bike or walking and used to play a lot outside my house, in parks and in the streets. People were very educated and respectful. Music was always present at home. Both my parents and my three brothers play at least one instrument and my oldest brother was a professional musician way before me. One thing I remember a lot is the sound of my mum playing piano at home during my childhood.
Where do you busk and if you could pick a favourite location for busking where would that be?
I have busked in many cities in three different countries. Where I busk regularly is here, in Rio de Janeiro. I loved to play on the corner of Visconde de Pirajá and Vinícius de Moraes street. There was a closed store, so less chances of someone complaining about the music and also I never saw others busking there. So it kind of became my place to play. I played there a lot, people in the neighbourhood knew me, nodded and smiled a lot when passing by, acknowledging my work. Eventually someone bought the closed store to open a market and I never got to play there anymore.
Nowadays, if I had to pick a favourite location, it would be Arpoador because of the breathtaking view of the beach and the sun setting behind the Dois Irmãos mountains. Many people go there, including tourists, so it’s also good money-wise.
What are some of your most memorable moments as a busker?
There was this time I was taking a break and a homeless woman grabbed my guitar and started shouting some incomprehensible lyrics to the senseless rhythm of her strumming on the open strings. I didn’t fear for my instrument as she seemed to be holding it firmly, in spite of her weak appearance. She attracted all sorts of frightened looks from the people passing by, but she wasn’t doing any harm.
I was really in need of a break at the moment and I understood her catharsis so I just let her go on. After some time I asked politely for my guitar back, saying I needed to get back to work, and started playing again. She just stood there with a weird look and I didn’t have a clue whether she was liking the music or not. Suddenly she ran into the nearest store, where she got herself hurled out by security a moment later. After nearly falling to the ground, she stared at me, threw something into my guitar case and ran off.
Startled, I finished my song and looked at the case. It was a candy. She had “robbed” it from the store (one of those free candies given to customers) just to be able to give me something in exchange for my music. Or for letting her play my guitar, I’ll never know.
Another time, there was a man that passed by me a lot with his little girl, probably on their way to and from her school. She was around 6 years old and (for a couple of years) would love to hear me play and danced to my music every time they passed by. At the time, I got hired for a theatre play and was away from town and the streets most of the time for nearly a year. Then I came back and started busking regularly again and one day they encountered me once more. The father obviously remembered me and stopped walking so she could hear my playing and dance to my music again, but she didn’t. He looked at me sadly and they went on their way. Guess I’ll never know if she was just sad that day, or if she felt she was too grown up now to dance in the middle of the sidewalk.
How do you sum up the allure of Flamenco guitar?
I believe it’s allure resides in its intensity and strength and in the unique right hand techniques that perfectly express them. Its rhythms and melodies, enchantingly awkward and yet exotic, hold a secret mystery to it.
If you could choose a song that sums up life for you what would that song be?
Difficult to sum it all up in just one song! Maybe Camaron De La Isla’s Viviré: “Viviré, mientras que el alma me suene. Aquí estoy para morir cuando me llegue.” – “I’ll live while my soul still sings. Here I am, to die when my time comes.”
It’s much more poetic in Spanish… sounds somewhat depressing in English, but it’s not that. It means to live intensely through music and meet our fate with pride.
What’s some great advice you’ve received in your lifetime?
To believe in your dreams, to work hard, but let the universe take care of the rest and to know that this too shall pass.
What music do you listen to yourself?
All sorts! Besides flamenco, I’m also a metal-head but love folk music and fingerstyle guitar. Classical music is also a must for me.
How have you occupied yourself during these very tough Coronavirus months?
With work and music, fortunately! Recorded a paid online show, and composed the music for a suspense/terror short film and two theatre plays. I also featured in another artist’s song and videoclip (Udi Fagundes) and played on his internet live show. Giving online lessons, composing, playing for social media lives, and a series of home-made videos as live sessions for my YouTube channel.
What do you think we’ve learned from this pandemic?
I think we’ve learned the value of human physical presence, as well as the value, possibilities and limitations of the internet and technology. As artists we have to be constantly creative and the pandemic has been a tough challenge. But also an opportunity to grow and to learn from it.
What’s next for Pablo Vares?
An online show on YouTube… Waiting for the short film to finish editing and post-production.
Hopefully my first album, which is one of my greatest dreams I have yet to accomplish.
Find out more about this talented artist here: